4 Ways To Stop Sibling Bickering

sibling bickering
Image via Chaunie Brusie

I kind of feel like a hypocrite writing this article, because in the last half hour that I have been trying to sit down to type it out on my computer, my kids have been fighting non-stop.

It started when the older two insisted on wanting to sit on the stairs to play. Why they would want to do that is beyond me, but all I know is that, somehow, they were secretly wanting to wake their brother, who had just gone down for a nap so I could lose any and all ability to get my work done.

I asked them sweetly to please not play on the stairs.

And in less than 10 seconds, can you guess what they were doing?

Yes, that's right–not just “playing” on the stairs, but fighting, crying, and screaming so loudly it could have woken the baby napping down the road.

Sigh.

But because I'm a mom who knows how hard it is to have kids at home for the summer while I'm also at home, you know, trying to do other things than break up fights all day, I'm going to take a look at these tips to end the summer bickering.

For all of our sakes.

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Image via Flickr/ n2linux

Let them adjust.

OK, so this one really isn't easy at all, but if your children have been separated for some time–say one child away at school or camp–there will be an inevitable “re-adjustment” period when they need to get used to living together on a daily basis again. For us, this took about a week, and it was awful. Constant non-stop fighting. But after that first week, a new normal was established (somewhat), and they learned to live with each other once again.

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Image via Flickr/ David Reber's Hammer Photography

Give them a job to do.

One of my survival tactics for the sibling bickering this summer is simply to give them a job to do. It's always something simple, like picking up their toys in the basement or cleaning their room. But somehow, it seems to help them forget how much they dislike each other and focus on how much they wish their mean ol' mom wouldn't make them do chores. Nothing like a little sibling bonding, right?

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Image via Flickr/ bedzine

Let them have their own space.

I mean, when you think about it, siblings are together a lot. From the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep, and in many cases, even in their sleep (if they share a room). Thinking back to my own childhood, I would get plain sick of being with my younger brother and just needed my own time. I think that especially for girls or children who are more introverted, it's important to recognize that they need their “alone time” to recharge their batteries as much as we do as adults. For us, that has meant working on rearranging the girls' bedroom, adding bunk beds so they can have their own space, and having them do separate activities during the afternoon with a little quiet time.

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Image via Flickr/ Ken Wilcox.

Let them work it out.

Honestly, when all else fails or I've spent a whole day trying to intervene between bickering siblings, I go with my last resort: walking away. When child #1 wants to tell me what child #2 did to her, and child #2 wants to interrupt and tell her side of the story, I simply put my hand up and say, “Nope, sorry, but you guys need to work it out together.”

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And then I walk away.

Maybe it's mean mothering or maybe it's brilliant parenting, but either way, used on occasion, it seems to work, and more importantly, it helps them discover how to work out disagreements on their own.

What's your best tip for helping siblings to get along?

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4 Ways To Stop Sibling Bickering

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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1 comment

  1. Grace says:

    Tried all and they still bicker more than I like

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